Like so many, Buster Posey isn’t thrilled with how the game of baseball is evolving. More than ever, baseball has become a game of true outcomes, with more at-bats than ever ending in a home run, strikeout or walk. The value of being abile to play small-ball or of having an incredible infield defense has dwindled due to a variety of factors.
One of those factors, according to Posey is the shift, and it’s something he told Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks on Thursday that he’d like to see eliminated.
“I think you have to get rid of the shift, I feel very strongly about that,” Posey said on KNBR. “I just think that if a guy like Brandon Belt is at the plate and he hits a rocket that short hops the right fielder and the second baseman or third baseman is standing there and he’s out. He’s thinking alright “What’s the value in hitting the ball even remotely closely to the ground now? I’ve got to get the ball in the air.
“It’s easier said than done to just punch something to the left side. These guys are throwing 100 and they’re throwing it in spots that make it hard to do that. I always think about Brandon Crawford. If you’ve got Brandon Crawford playing a traditional position at shortstop, and a hard ground ball is hit up the middle, he’s got an opportunity now to make a diving play and show off his arm, but instead he’s already standing there, so it’s a routine ground ball and it’s not exciting.”
In 2020, the three true outcome rate of 36.1 was the highest in MLB history. That included a strikeout rate of 23.4% (highest ever), home run rate of 3.5% (second-highest ever) and walk rate of 9.2 (highest in the last 20 years). Put simply, more hitters than ever are going home run or bust.
“I think removing the shift would do a lot. I also think that the wristbands everybody wears, I don’t think those should be in the game. I think you should do that homework before the game. Because the data is just so good now, you can predict so much based on the guy on the mound, the guy at the plate, the ballpark, the weather conditions. Front office guys to their credit are so good at that, I think that’s part of why we are seeing the only option sometimes is to try to get the ball in the air.”
Listen to the full interview below.